Antique Arms & Militaria

818 items found
A Very Rare American War of independence Era 1773-1780 British Light  Dragoon Officer's Sword. Originally Purchased from The Tower of London Collection by A Private Collector Nearly 50 Years Ago

A Very Rare American War of independence Era 1773-1780 British Light Dragoon Officer's Sword. Originally Purchased from The Tower of London Collection by A Private Collector Nearly 50 Years Ago

One of the rarest swords of the American Revolutionary War cavalry of both protagonists to exist today. This superb sword was formerly in the world renown Tower of London collection, [see photo plate 70 D in "European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London" by Arthur Richard Dufty Master of the Armouries].

Although practised no longer by the Tower of London Executors, during the past two centuries, on just a very few occasions, the Tower of London has sold a few items by auction in order to facilitate an influx of funds for new acquisitions

Not a sword of particular elegance, for this was designed to do a very specific task for an 18th century cavalryman, and it did it well. Brass stirrup hilt now very finely and naturally heavily patinated, through age, and a very long clipped back blade. It has all its original fishskin bound grip. This English sword is most rarely seen, with very little known of it's design origins, although it does clearly have its ordnance crown inspection stamp on the blade, and as very few remain in existance it rarely appears photographed in many reference books on British/American swords of the American Revolutionary War or War of Independence as it is also known. This fine and rare example was sold from the 'Tower of London Collection' in 1973 at Christie's.

Little or no documentation on its original ordnance order, made some 250 years ago, regarding its manufacture, exists. What is known however, is that it is estimated it was made from 1773, but possibly slightly earlier, and it was replaced by the more abundant 1788 pattern version. That replacement 1788 sword is far more well recorded, and fair number of that type survive. A very few examples of this sword are kept in just a few, select American museums, that contain the military collections of captured British weapons, and also those used by former American born British officers that moved over to serve in the new American Continental Army Light Dragoons under George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. We show two paintings of American Continental Dragoons using this pattern of sword. In our conversations in the 1980's with the eminent Howard Blackmore, Assistant Keeper of Weapons at the Tower of London, he believed these cavalry swords, when they surfaced, were possibly one of the most interesting of swords used in the Revolution in America, in that they were used by officers of both sides, but sadly so few survived the war itself that they are now considered to be one of the rarest swords of their type to exist. These swords were originally made for, and used by, the British Light Dragoon Regiments, including the infamous and well recorded through history 'Tarleton's Green Dragoons'. Banastre Tarleton was originally a young British officer of the 1st Dragoon Guards, who purchased his rank of cornet. He proved to be such a gifted horseman and leader of troops, due to his outstanding ability alone, he worked his way up through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel without having to purchase any further commissions.

In December 1775, he sailed from Cork as a volunteer to North America where rebellion had recently broken out triggering the American War of Independence. Tarleton sailed with Lord Cornwallis as part of an expedition to capture the southern city of Charleston. After this failed, he joined the main British Army in New York under General Howe. His service during 1776 gained him the position of a brigade major of cavalry. After becoming the commander of the British Legion, a mixed force of cavalry and light infantry also called Tarleton's Raiders, he proceeded at the beginning of 1780 to South Carolina, rendering valuable services to Sir Henry Clinton in the operations which culminated in the capture of Charleston. This was part of the 'southern strategy' by which the British directed most of their efforts to that theater hoping to restore authority over the southern colonies where they believed there was more support for the crown. On 29 May 1780, Tarleton, with a force of 150 mounted soldiers, overtook a detachment of 350 to 380 Virginia Continentals led by Abraham Buford. Buford refused to surrender or even to stop his march. Only after sustaining heavy casualties did Buford order the surrender. What happened next is cause of heated debate. According to American accounts, Tarleton ignored the white flag and mercilessly massacred Buford's men. In the end, 113 Americans were killed and another 203 captured, 150 of whom were so badly wounded that they had to be left behind. Tarleton's casualties were 5 killed and 12 wounded.6 The British called the affair the Battle of Waxhaw Creek, while the Americans called it the "Buford Massacre" or the "Waxhaw Massacre." In recounting Tarleton's action at the scene, an American field surgeon named Robert Brownfield wrote that Col. Buford raised a white flag of surrender, "expecting the usual treatment sanctioned by civilized warfare". While Buford was calling for quarter, Tarleton's horse was struck by a musket ball and fell. This gave the loyalist cavalrymen the impression that the rebels had shot at their commander while asking for mercy. Enraged, the loyalist troops charged at the Virginians. According to Brownfield, the loyalists attacked, carrying out "indiscriminate carnage never surpassed by the most ruthless atrocities of the most barbarous savages." Tarleton's men stabbed the wounded where they lay. In Tarleton's own account, he virtually admits the massacre, stating that his horse had been shot from under him during the initial charge and his men, thinking him dead, engaged in "a vindictive asperity not easily restrained." However there are strange contraditions as to Tarleton's behaviour, for, contrary to his nature, as described by his conduct at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson himself later noted,

"I did not suffer by him. On the contrary he behaved very genteely with me. … He gave strict orders to Capt. Mcleod to suffer nothing to be injured." Tarleton materially helped Cornwallis to win the Battle of Camden in August 1780. He was completely victorious in an engagement with Thomas Sumter at Fishing Creek, aka "Catawba Fords", but was less successful when he encountered the same general at Blackstock's Farm in November 1780. Then in January 1781, Tarleton's forces were virtually destroyed by American Brigadier General Daniel Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens. Tarleton however managed to flee the battlefield with perhaps 250 men. Although Tarleton had a deservedly dastardly reputation, many other Light Dragoon forces were commanded by far more respected and gentlemanly officers, and the troops under their command fought in the most formative conflicts of both American and British history. A war that shaped the whole world that followed it, arguably more than any other war before it. Although in terms of casualties, fewer men perished in the whole war of Independence, that covered several years, than in a single day during the Battle of Gettysberg, less than 100 years later in the Civil War. This sword has a 35 inch blade. No scabbard, for we have never even seen a surviving original scabbard for such a rare sword. This is probably only the second such surviving examples we have had in around 30 years.  read more

Code: 23377

3450.00 GBP

A Very Fine & Rare, Signally Beautiful, Anglo-American War of 1812, 'Eagle Head' & Scroll Fretted Hilt, American Officer's Sabre. In Great Condition.

A Very Fine & Rare, Signally Beautiful, Anglo-American War of 1812, 'Eagle Head' & Scroll Fretted Hilt, American Officer's Sabre. In Great Condition.

It was quite extraordinary, but we acquired a pair of these fabulous and very rare American eagle head pommel and scroll fretted hilted sabres, that have been together since the war, possibly owned by brothers that served, but naturally, officer's swords were never sold as pairs, or indeed used as such, but, none the less, they have been together for almost 200 years. We are, however, selling them individually.

Eagle head pommel with fully feathered back strap, in brass, with scroll fretted knuckle guard, and carved bone grip. Almost all the deluxe grade American officer’s sabres had the expensive alternative option of a carved bone hilt, as opposed to carved ivory, as enjoyed by their British counterparts, as the new nation of America lost all its access to ivory after its split from being part of the British colonial forces. Another one of the long list of negative consequences resulting from the revolution of 1776. It has an engraved bright polished blade, and its original brass mounted leather scabbard, with both twin ring belt strap supports, and an alternative wear option of a frog mount stud. Overall in excellent condition, with usual aged blade etching surface wear.
Used in the War of 1812 period, and a very nice example of these very fine swords,For Canadians, historically, the War of 1812 was the successful defence of a small colony against attack by a much larger neighbour.
Canadians endured repeated invasions and occasional occupations, but each invasion ultimately ended with an American withdrawal. The Royal Navy and British Army supported by Canadian regulars, Canadian militia, and First Peoples warriors, successfully defended Canada. Isaac Brock, Charles de Salaberry, Laura Secord, and Tecumseh became, and remain, iconic Canadian figures. The successful defence of Canada allowed British North America to evolve into an independent transcontinental country.
The War of 1812 was fought between the United States of America and Great Britain and its colonies, Upper and Lower Canada and Nova Scotia, from 1812 to 1815 on land and sea. The Americans declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812, for a combination of reasons, outrage at the impressment (seizure) of thousands of American sailors, frustration at British restraints on neutral trade while Britain warred with France, and anger at British support for native attacks along the frontier which conflicted with American expansion and settlement into the Old Northwest. The war started poorly for the Americans as their attempts to invade Canada were repeatedly repulsed; later in the war, American land forces proved more effective. The Royal Navy lost some early single-ship battles but eventually their numbers told and the naval blockade of the eastern seaboard ruined American commerce, and led to extreme dissatisfaction in New England. Following the American raid and burning of York (now Toronto), the British raided the Chesapeake Bay area and burned parts of Washington D.C. but were repulsed at Baltimore and withdrew. The Americans gained naval control of Lake Erie and Lake Champlain, preventing the planned British invasion of New York. The Americans destroyed the power of the native people of the Northwest and Southeast. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, and the stalemate on the battlefields, both nations agreed to a peace that left the prewar boundaries intact.  read more

Code: 25299

1595.00 GBP

A Beautiful 18th to 19th Century Ottoman Shamshir. With Traditional Carved Horn Hilt

A Beautiful 18th to 19th Century Ottoman Shamshir. With Traditional Carved Horn Hilt

A form of sword that is actually known around the world by at least three different names, the kilij, shamshir and mamaluke. Picture in the gallery of Napoleon in Egypt carrying his identical form of kilij/shamshir. A sturdy curved single edged steel blade of kilij form. A hilt comprised of a grip with horn grip-scales rising to a bulbous pommel in a characteristic Turkish Ottoman style, set with rivets and enclosed by fluted brass straps, with a gilt metal crossguard. The wooden scabbard is covered in leather stamped with geometric patterning/

The horn grip is very good and, the scabbard is good with impressed patterning.

Many old Turkish and Mameluke blades were constantly remounted and used for a few hundred years and were passed from father to son and were used by the next generations, hence swords made earlier were still used after hundreds of years. The overall length with the scabbard is approximately:

Examples of similar forms of Ottoman swords can be seen in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum Istanbul and also in the Askeri Museum Istanbul Turkey. The kilij sword was mainly favoured by the famous Turkish Ottoman elite cavalry Sipahi, but was also very popular in many Balkan states and some Eastern European countries such as Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary and parts of the Russian Empire.

See Islamic Swords and Swordsmiths by Unsal Yucel, "Les armes blanches du monde islamique" by Alan Jacob and "Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774" by David Nicolle. Mamelukes are members of a former military caste originally composed of slaves from Turkey, that held the Egyptian throne from the mid thirteenth century to the early 1500s. They remained strong until 1811.

Regency fashion took inspiration from everything Mameluke, from swords to clothing. Many British generals and admirals took to wearing the Kilij or mamluke, and in France, Napoleon's general's did very much the same. The origins of the Mamluke originate from the slave soldiers who converted to Islam and served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid Sultans during the Middle Ages. Over time, they became a powerful military caste often defeating the Crusaders. On more than one occasion, they seized power for themselves; for example, ruling Egypt in the Mamluk Sultanate from 1250–1517.Initially the Mamelukes were mostly Qipchaq Turks from the steppe lands north of the Black Sea but from 1382 onwards the rulers were mostly Circasians from the Caucasus. Though Mameluke politics were marked by intrigue and violence, the regime was very successful. Militarily they were the only power able to defeat the Mongols, at the battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, and they put an end to the crusader occupation of the Holy Land with the conquest of Acre in 1291. Both economically and culturally, Mameluke rule was the most successful period in the history of medieval Egypt. The Mamelukes remained a force to be reckoned with until their defeat by Napoleon at the battle of the Pyramids in 1798.

34.75 inches long in scabbard
Sword 34 inches long.  read more

Code: 25291

1200.00 GBP

A Hugely Impressive & Beautiful, Gothic, Medieval Form Pole Or Tiller Gun, Light Cannon Size Yet Hand Portable.

A Hugely Impressive & Beautiful, Gothic, Medieval Form Pole Or Tiller Gun, Light Cannon Size Yet Hand Portable.

1.25 inch bore iron 'cannon form' barrel, with a carved hardwood tiller, probably later, bearing a beautifully carved Tudor rose. Probably a 17th century gun, and during it's later working life it has been stored in the 18th to 19th century in the armoury of the Maharajah of Jaipur and bears the Maharajah’s armoury storage marks stamped thereon.

This type of gun is typical of many surviving from the period 1420 to around 1480. It’s a most sturdy and massive forged iron barrel made by a armoury blacksmith, mounted with a wooden pole or tiller. Some version might have had a hook on the bottom of the barrel as does this, which could be used to hook the barrel over the top of a wall or shield, or as a close-quarters weapon.

The the late medieval term used was arquebus or harkbuss meaning a hand fired gun..

This gun can be fired by a single person if it is hooked over a wall, or more easily by two people, a gunner and a calinator due to it’s weight. The earlier weapons all rely on putting a lighted match into the touch-hole by hand. The matchlock gun represented a real advance. It held the lighted match on a pivoted trigger lever (known as a serpentine). This allowed the gunner to look at his target where aiming.

This style of gun was the highest technology of the medieval era, not widespread until after 1450, and continuing until perhaps 1550, when it grew in length and became the familiar musket of the English civil wars in the 1700’s.

Barrel 31.5 inches long, barrel muzzle 2.5 inches across, tiller 18 inches, and overall 50 inches. As with all our antique guns no license is required as they are all unrestricted antique collectables, barrel bore bears old tamper obstruction.  read more

Code: 20331

1875.00 GBP

A Superb 16th Century Italian Glaive Polearm, Used in the 1500's

A Superb 16th Century Italian Glaive Polearm, Used in the 1500's

Also known as a fauchard. 34.5 inch head. glaive is a European polearm weapon, consisting of a single-edged blade on the end of a pole. It is similar to the Japanese naginata, the Chinese guandao, Russian sovnya and Siberian palma

Typically, the blade was from around 45 cm (18 inches) long, on the end of a pole 2 m (6 or 7 feet) long, and the blade was affixed in a socket-shaft configuration similar to an axe head, rather than having a tang like a sword or naginata. Occasionally glaive blades were created with a small hook on the reverse side [such as this one] to better catch riders on horseback. Such blades are called glaive-guisarmes.

According to the 1599 treatise Paradoxes of Defence by the English gentleman George Silver, the glaive is used in the same general manner as the quarterstaff, half pike, bill, halberd, voulge, or partisan. Silver rates this class of polearms above all other individual hand-to-hand combat weapons.
The Maciejowski Bible (Morgan Bible) depicts an example of a two-handed glaive used on horseback. Two images in our gallery are taken from the Morgan Bible (Folio 10 Verso - top). Notice the Warbrand in the forefront slicing into a mounted soldier with his glaive. Another early engraving of a knight with a glaive, and a group of men behing the king all with forms of glaive.
The contemporary term for this weapon may have been faussart, which was used for a variety of single-edged weapons seen as related to the scythe (along with terms such as falchion or falcata derived from falx, the Latin term for "scythe"). 96.75 inches long overall [haft is so long it would need to be expertly but only temporarily halved by our workshop for shipping] This superb glaive was formerly part of the Higgin's Collection and exhibited in the wonderful Higgins Museum Collection in Massachusetts for many decades, and it still bears, for its provenence, its original Higgins Armoury museum collection label.  read more

Code: 22579

2450.00 GBP

A Fabulous Piece Of Napoleonic Wars Maritime History. Hand Written Napoleonic Wars Royal Naval 'Secret Intelligence' Report 1809

A Fabulous Piece Of Napoleonic Wars Maritime History. Hand Written Napoleonic Wars Royal Naval 'Secret Intelligence' Report 1809

A secret intelligence report regarding Capt Beresford's observations of the enemy ship numbers off L'Orient and the Rochefort ships. Hand written and triple folded on laid paper bearing the watermark of the Prince of Wales Feathers, a monogram, MJL, and dated 1806. Paper makers Molineux Johnston and Lee of Lewes Sussex, cut and gilt edges.
This is the very same laid paper, by MJL, that was used in personal correspondence by Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose family home was near Lewes, and is duly recorded in the Bodlean at Oxford. Naturally, for a Naval Intelligence secret report it is unsigned, but one must sumise it would have been composed by an naval intelligence agent, such as the fictional ship's surgeon, Stephen Maturin, a physician, and intelligence agent in the nautical and historical novels by Patrick O'brian.

The Battle of the Basque Roads, also Battle of Aix Roads was a naval battle during the Napoleonic Wars off the Island of Aix. On the night of 11 April 1809 Captain Lord Cochrane led a British fireship attack against a powerful French force anchored in the Basque Roads. In the attack all but two of the French ships were driven ashore. The subsequent engagement lasted three days but failed to destroy the entire French fleet. Capt Beresford was part of the British squdron on HMS Theseus.

Cochrane accused the British commanding officer, Admiral James Gambier, of being reluctant to press the attack. Gambier demanded a court-martial, and was duly exonerated; Cochrane's career in the Royal Navy ended. The French Navy continued to operate against the British from the Basque Roads until the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Written side only 7 x 4.5 inches, opens to 9 x 4.5, fully folded 3 x 4.5 inches.

This fine original historical piece of Royal naval history would look absolutely superb suitably mounted and bespoke framed.  read more

Code: 20235

550.00 GBP

An Exceptional And Rare, Late-Renaissance, 1500's to Early 1600's, Nuremberg, Iron, Strongbox or Ship's Treasure Chest, With its Naive Painted Panels. Used Aboard Galleons To Store The Ship's Bullion or Treasure

An Exceptional And Rare, Late-Renaissance, 1500's to Early 1600's, Nuremberg, Iron, Strongbox or Ship's Treasure Chest, With its Naive Painted Panels. Used Aboard Galleons To Store The Ship's Bullion or Treasure

Temporary photos taken in the workshop prior to light cleaning. One of two beautiful examples we just acquired.
A similar example, also decorated with very similar flowers, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum Collection.
Also known as in some quarters as a Pirate's Treasure Chest, for when the pirates of the King James and Queen Anne period captured ships, their victim's ship's gold and treasure were in chests exactly such as this, and then, they were transferred by block and tackle to the pirate's ship. {see an antique print of Captain Avery loading treasure into his ship's hold in the gallery}. It could have been exactly such chests, containing their stolen booty, including jewels, treasure, gold doubloons etc., as was often buried by the pirates in the deserted Caribbean Islands, such as was beautifully described in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, and as was also well known through frequent tales of pirate lore.

Although made primarily in southern Germany during the 16th and 17th century, especially the Nuremburg region, these boxes were later identified in the Georgian period to be Spanish treasure chests, and were henceforth called Armada chests from the 19th century onwards. Some were indeed for the use of ship's captains at sea, and would have been bolted to the deck of the owner's or captain’s cabin.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth century money chests were wrought in sheet iron and reinforced with intersecting strips and fittings made of wrought iron. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a host of cities in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland were renowned for their craftsmanship, especially Augsburg and Nuremberg. The shops were usually old family businesses in which younger generations were trained by their elders. They became extremely skilled blacksmiths, along with equally skilled colleagues in specialities such as sheet metalworking, etching, hammered inlay, steel-plate engraving, painting and rustproofing.

By the dawn of the Renaissance they had already achieved a strong tradition of craftsmanship and a dominant position in Europe. Forging production in certain cities focused mainly on steel and iron armor, as well as equipment for entire armies of foot soldiers, cavalry, officers and horses. Blacksmiths produced all types of small arms for the era, along with accessories, swords, rapiers, lances, helmets, breastplates, and armour.

Armada chests and money boxes were in demand far beyond the borders of the German states and were used to hold taxes, tariffs, and soldiers’ wages, jewelry, coin and bullion of nobles as well as treasure taken by pirates.This chest is in great condition with beautiful and very rare naïve painted panels. Locked and without key.

Picture in the gallery of an 1837 woodcut from The Pirates Own Book by Charles Ellms depicting Henry Every receiving three chests of treasure on board his ship, the Fancy. Also original pictures of medieval iron chest and locksmiths, and examples of the gold bullion coin and treasure as would be contained in the chest, For information only.

As it is locked one might like to speculate, with faint hope, it might still contain its booty of emeralds, rubies, pearls and gold coin, but we must point out, it is somewhat unlikely. However, stretching the Schrödinger's cat formulation and paradox, to its extreme degree, whilst locked, it may at the same time be full of millions in treasure, yet also, be empty, and if one doesn’t attempt to try to open it, to see if it does, or indeed doesn’t contain treasure, one will never know for certain which it might be. Thus, Schrödinger's paradox or quantum superposition remains intact!  read more

Code: 25289

4750.00 GBP

Original, Fascinating Dark Ages Period, 7th Century Long  Latch Lifter. Anglo Saxon Period Artefact

Original, Fascinating Dark Ages Period, 7th Century Long Latch Lifter. Anglo Saxon Period Artefact

This would make a fabulous Inexpensive gift for those intrigued by early medieval England, but also incredibly inexpensive for such an impressive and original ancient conversational piece. Effectively it was the earliest form of door key for a home. One places it through an outside door's recess cut for the latch lifter, pushed through, the latch lifter drops down to hook upon the inside latch, and as it is pulled up and thus opening the door from the outside. The Dark Ages are estimated to have stretched from 500 to 1066 AD. Essentially from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Battle of Hastings in Britain.

After the end of Roman Britain, the land became a melting pot of Britons, Anglo Saxons and Vikings – all of whom variously shaped the character of the countryside. When the Anglo-Saxons arrived in Britain they were greeted by crumbling Roman cities, bridges and roads. Their impressions of this worn landscape can be seen in many of their Old English place names, which marked them out as remnants of a bygone age. For example, Chester was named ceaster by the Anglo-Saxons, whose Latin root means ‘military camp’.

Other place names hint at the Anglo-Saxons’ imaginative landscape – the supernatural creatures they believed to inhabit the groves and valleys. Just outside Durham there is a village called Shincliffe, which means ‘slope of the spectre or demon’ in Old English. The lady of the house would wear it around her girdle on a hook. They were such an important and highly symbolic part of a well-to-do lady's life, they were often buried with her upon her death, along with brooches or buckles. See Fuchs, K. et al. Die Alamannen, Stuttgart, 1997 for discussion of male and female grave assemblages of this period. From the family collection of a London gentleman; formed in the late 1940s-1950s; thence by descent. The latch lifters are typical of female grave assemblages (along with brooches, beads, buckles and other items of personal adornment" Total length 10 inches long. Very strong and good, sound condition. As with all our items it comes complete with our certificate of authenticity.  read more

Code: 21903

125.00 GBP

A Beautiful & Fine Quality Early Post Medieval to Early 17th Century Renaissance Wrought Iron Chest or Door Lock, German

A Beautiful & Fine Quality Early Post Medieval to Early 17th Century Renaissance Wrought Iron Chest or Door Lock, German

From a Norman or Gothic carved wooden chest. Superbly crafted and engraved. We show in the gallery the types of chest to which it could have been fitted in order to make them secure. The decoration of Gothic iron locks and keys was often elaborate and of the highest standard of workmanship. The motifs were frequently drawn from Gothic architecture, reproducing on a miniature scale complicated tracery patterns and even tiny statuettes. A number of these tiny locks were compound, with some of the mechanisms concealed from view, and required two or even three keys used in sequence to open them. It has been suggested that the greatly expanded use of locks on doors, or coffrets and other types of storage chests was a result of the increasing urbanization of life and the new emphasis on material wealth and private ownership which developed in the late Middle Ages. From the 15th century on, locksmiths gained a privileged status in society. They had advanced technical skills and were master craftsmen in decoration techniques. Their main clients were town burghers, the clergy, nobility who built castles and other large residences, and the Royal Family. Ever since the Viking era (the 9th to the 11th centuries), chests and small boxes have been important personal storage places in all levels of Swedish society – from the common people to the royal families. Locks made storage more secure. The Oseberg ship was discovered and excavated in the early 1900s in Vestfold, Norway. The ship was built in the first half of the 9th century. Many items were found on board – including storage chests. Chests were generally used by the crews of the Viking ships, who sat on them to row, as well as storing things in them.

In 1936, a Viking wooden tool chest was discovered during the plowing of a field at Mästermyr on Gotland. Over two hundred iron objects were found inside and around the chest, which is 90 cm long and 24 cm high. Of particular interest in the present context is the fact that these objects included blacksmith tools as well as two large keys, lock parts, other lock hardware and three small padlocks.

King Louis XVI of France proved to be a man of very few interests and pleasures in the midst of the whirlwind of entertainment that was Versailles. One was the hunt and the other was his amateur blacksmithing.

A small forge was installed above his private library to indulge the King in his pursuit of this particular hobby. Here there were two anvils and every tool that could possibly be needed was available. As it happened, locks were of a particular interest to Louis. The room was filled with all kinds of locks: common locks, hidden locks and elaborately gilded locks. The château's blacksmith by the name of Gamin was employed to teach the King all he knew - probably in all secrecy . When he was not with the King he was in charge of all the locks at Versailles. From him we know that Louis was eager to conceal this hobby from his courtiers and his Queen which resulted in the two coming up with countless stratagems for removing and bringing in the anvils. Sadly, Gamin would eventually betray Louis during the revolution.

The court was not very approving of their King's hobby. It was thought to be a profession for the lower classes - not a a hobby for a King. Even Marie Antoinette had the occasional complain about this hobby but for a far more practical reason: the work left the King's hands blackened and he would often visit her without washing them first much to the damage of her furniture.
Louis XVI seemed to have paid them little mind. Instead, he agreed with Rousseau that every man should know a manual craft. Meanwhile, the pamphleteers had a field day making the King's interest in keys and locks a fitting symbol of his ... marital problems. This would look stunning mounted or framed. Size 22.5 x 20 cm some photos appear to show its colour as greenish, this is a photographic lighting optical illusion it is in fact blackened with age  read more

Code: 23389

1495.00 GBP

A Superb, Rare, Original, French Napoleonic Wars Deluxe Grade Sabre of a French General of Napoleon's General Staff, a Wonderful & Most Beautiful Sabre of Napoleon's Grand Armee. Consulate to Ist Empire Period

A Superb, Rare, Original, French Napoleonic Wars Deluxe Grade Sabre of a French General of Napoleon's General Staff, a Wonderful & Most Beautiful Sabre of Napoleon's Grand Armee. Consulate to Ist Empire Period

A general officer's 'blue and gilt' sword, with deluxe scabbard with the 'Cartouche médian au trophée avec tambours et piques' including classical figure panels of Victory standing and a portrait bust of the face of Minerva. the scabbard chape bears what the French called 'a la toile d'araignee sur les armes est anterieur a l'empire'. It is a spider's web, that was as a symbol used on superior arms in the Consular period. The spider symbolised the Biblical 'son' and the link that exists between the 'creator', and the 'creature', is the web that allows the second {the son} to reattach itself to the first {the creator} and, thus to get closer to it. In more simple terms the thread of the web constitutes the canvas which becomes a symbol of loyalty. The scabbard, amazingly has much of its remaining, original, mercurial gilt finish, that due to constant combat handling though, is no longer present on the hilt.

During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars the French armies had approximately 2,000,000 plus serving soldiers, of those there were around 2000 generals commanding them in the armies of France, directly under their commander-in-chief, the Emperor Napoleon. However, for example, at the Battle of Borodino, Napoleon lost 1928 of his officer's including 49 Generals, in just one day!

This sword would have been used and carried in combat by one of those commanding generals of the general staff. Napoleon was, and remains, famous for his battlefield victories, and historians have spent enormous attention in analysing them.
In 2008, Donald Sutherland wrote:

The ideal Napoleonic battle was to manipulate the enemy into an unfavourable position through manoeuvre and deception, force him to commit his main forces and reserve to the main battle and then undertake an enveloping attack with uncommitted or reserve troops on the flank or rear. Such a surprise attack would either produce a devastating effect on morale, or force him to weaken his main battle line. Either way, the enemy's own impulsiveness began the process by which even a smaller French army could defeat the enemy's forces one by one.

After 1807, Napoleon's creation of a highly mobile, well-armed artillery force gave artillery usage increased tactical importance. Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defences, could now use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line. Once that was achieved he sent in infantry and cavalry. The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned to power and tried to reverse some of them by restoring the Bourbon house on the French throne. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule. In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and a demand for constitutional limits on monarchs. The increasing voice of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil law, with clearly defined codes of law an enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code.

While Napoleon is best known as a master strategist and charismatic presence on the battlefield, he was also a tactical innovator. He combined classic formations and tactics that had been used for thousands of years with more recent ones, such as Frederick the Great's "Oblique Order" (best illustrated at the Battle of Leuthen) and the "mob tactics" of the early Levée en masse armies of the Revolution. Napoleonic tactics and formations were highly fluid and flexible. In contrast, many of the Grande Armée's opponents were still wedded to a rigid system of "Linear" (or Line) tactics and formations, in which masses of infantry would simply line up and exchange vollies of fire, in an attempt to either blow the enemy from the field or outflank them. Due to the vulnerabilities of the line formations to flanking attacks, it was considered the highest form of military manoeuvre to outflank one's adversary. Armies would often retreat or even surrender if this was accomplished. Consequently, commanders who adhered to this system would place a great emphasis on flank security, often at the expense of a strong centre or reserve. Napoleon would frequently take full advantage of this linear mentality by feigning flank attacks or offering the enemy his own flank as "bait" (best illustrated at the Battle of Austerlitz and also later at Lützen), then throw his main effort against their centre, split their lines, and roll up their flanks. He always kept a strong reserve as well, mainly in the form of his Imperial Guard, which could deliver a "knockout blow" if the battle was going well or turn the tide if it was not.

Overall the condition is very good for age and considering its service. The scabbard has inner side surface contact denting, and the throat mount rim is lacking. In the 20th century generals plotted campaigns and were not often in the thick of combat. In the Napoleonic wars era generals fought, more often than not alongside their men in hand to hand combat, hence, Napoleon lost so many of his generals.  read more

Code: 25287

8495.00 GBP